Ossus Library Index Fantasy Movie Index

HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS

Directed by Chris Columbus (2002, Warner Bros.)
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson

Harry and his friends attempt to find the person who opened the Chamber of Secrets before people start dying.

 

 

3+ stars

July 26th, 2015 on DVD for the 3rd time  
   

It's a different experience watching this movie after reading the book. There was a lot left out, as expected, but the movie didn't really hit a chord with me, even with all that extra information about the Chamber and the spiders. I did like the three main characters, though, and especially the way they worked together (until Hermione gets petrified, of course...).

 

 

3+ stars+

January 25th, 2005 on DVD for the second time  
   

I found this movie to be rather slow, in fact. It didn't move along with any clarity or purpose. For the most part, the adults in the movie did nothing. I suppose this is true for all of the movies, as it is up to Harry and his friends to save the school. Otherwise, Dumbledore and the others would just wait around, hoping the threat would go away on its own.

My favorite parts of the movie were the Quiddach game and especially the spider chase through the forest. As mentioned below, the actor who plays Ron gave the best performance in this film. It's too bad his little sister didn't return in The Prisoner of Azkaban, because this could give some complication to Harry's budding relationship with Hermione.

The conclusion was a bit of a letdown, using all sorts of standard film stunts to defeat the basilisk. It was nice to see that Harry required some sort of help, in that the phoenix destroyed the creature's eyes, so it couldn't kill him that way.

So far, this is the weakest of the Harry Potter movies.

 

 

4 stars

December 10th, 2002 in the Theatre  
   

Another great outing for Harry Potter. While this one lacks the introduction to magic that made the first instalment so amazing, it still has a whole bunch of great stuff going on, and the effects and acting were great.

Once again, I must reiterate that I've never read the books, and I don't really have any plans to do so. Joanne did read this book months before going in, and she enjoyed it just as much, though she said the book was even darker than the movie!

This movie is definitely darker than The Philosopher's Stone. The magic is spookier, people are nearly killed, and there are two scenes with amazing magical creatures, which should bring nightmares! I was, however, disappointed to learn the nature of the darkness. I really thought Harry would have a Dark Side to him, and was unimpressed to hear about the transfer of powers through the scar, from Valdemort to Harry. I wished Harry really was the heir to Slytherin.

As this movie series continues, I really hope to see Harry and his friends get in more trouble, or perhaps uncover threats that are not real, to reduce their credibility. If he continues to be teacher's pet throughout all seven movies, I think I will get bored. I liked Dumbledore's admonition that Harry and Valdemort were more alike than simply being able to talk to snakes: they both also have a certain disregard for the rules.

By contrast, Malefoy seems to be too evil. Does this kid have no good in him at all? If not, why is he still in school? Snape may tend towards the dark side, but he is not evil.

The actor who plays Ron is really great at showing his emotions, especially fear! When he is standing talking to the spiders (in a terrifically executed scene), you can see the fear living through him. When his flying car careens out of control (I wish we had seen the reaction from inside the train), he also goes out of control.

Hermione, on the other hand, is growing more and more beautiful! I love her character, with the high pretentiousness, her grudging respect for the others, and her sensitivity to having muggle parents. The fact is that she knows so much, and there isn't a student in her class who can cast a spell better than she can. She and Harry will apparently have a romance in the future, as we can see their relationship growing, from Harry stroking her hand after she is petrified, to her hugging him after she recovers (but giving Ron only an awkward handshake). Only Ron's sister, who seems to idolize Harry, could put a kink in that, which might be fun to see, especially since Harry rescued the young Weasley at the end.

There seems to be a lot going on below the surface of these movies, than even the books present, from what I gather. Is Malfoy's father responsible for Valdemort? He obviously wants the evil wizard to come back to life, by dropping the diary into Ron's sister's pack. I just hope that not every movie deals with Valdemort, with Harry winning. That could get very tiresome, not to mention unlikely.

The diary was really cool, both in the text that reappears from the grave, and in taking Harry back in time. However, if Jack Riddle really is Valdemort, and was locked in the Chamber of Secrets fifty years ago, how did he live to kill Harry's parents, and give Harry the scar, only fourteen years ago?

The diary also gave great misdirection, pointing at Hagrid and his spider. The scene in Hagrid's hut was really funny, with Harry and Ron under the invisibility cloak, and Hagrid giving them covert advice. It seems the cloak is not immune to the most powerful magic users, however, since Dumbledore managed to penetrate it.

The special effects in this film for the most part, were more subtle than in The Philosopher's Stone. Things like the moving staircases and the talking photo albums, could almost be taken for granted, and really inspire a feeling of recognition from the first film. The way the characters ignore such things that they were in awe at in the last film shows great character growth.

The spiders were great effects, with a terrific chase scene. I felt they were real spiders chasing Harry and Ron. I absolutely loved the way the flying car rescued them, then ran off again! The baselisk was not quite as impressive, as its head was much more static, and the characters (mainly Harry) didn't respond to it as if it was really in the scene with them, which it obviously wasn't.

We also encounter the house elf Dobby. Though the character was cute, and its magic was funny most of the time, and the scene where he is inadvertently freed from Malfoy's household was hilarious, I couldn't get past the fact that it was a computer generated character. It could have been made so much better, so much more realistic, even in a CG environment. I guess I've been spoiled by The Fellowship of the Ring! His self-inflicted punishment, since he knew he was doing bad things, was pretty funny.

Even though the film was much darker, it was also a lot more funny than the first one. Scenes like being chased by the bludger ball in Quiddich, the screaming telegram, Ron's clumsy owl, Dobby's door as it kept opening while Harry kept closing it ("fix that door" his uncle yells!), and so on, really gave me a chuckle. Moaning Myrtle was a little annoying, but served her purpose. Ron's backward spell, which made him vomit slugs, was hilarious and extremely disgusting at the same time.

I think I'll have to see this movie a second time in order to catch all that went on. I liked seeing them do magic in the classroom, from the screeching plants to the mischievous fairies that only Hermione could stop. I only wish we got to see more magic outside the class, like the cool duels between Snape and the new vain teacher of the Dark Arts. Speaking of him, I suppose they need yet a new teacher for that subject, since he used Ron's broken wand to give himself amnesia. That's two in two movies!

Despite some weak moments, and the loss of a "first-time" experience with the magical aspects of the film, its nearly three hour time passed in the blink of an eye. The actors were also great, as were the special effects. I look forward to the next installment, as well as seeing this one again.

 
   

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